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Nov 8, 2018

say yes

Wow guys, you are blowing me away! The responses to my last post has been tremendously positive and encouraging. You WANT to hear about the hard. You WANT me to show you the mountains and the valleys. And you aren’t mad that I hid my heart for so long. All I can say is: thank you.

It’s now November, and it’s hard to believe that this year is almost over. There’s been ups and downs this last year, but the constant has been God’s grace, healing, and restoration in my life. I’ve learned that there is a whole lot that I don’t need to carry on my heart, that I don’t need to get so worked up about things, that my family is the most important ministry right now, that God lets us go through the hard and the hurt so we can taste the sweetness of restoration with Him, and that I can leave the dishes until tomorrow.. I know, it’s a weird list.
📷: @erinkvdonck
Since I’m now a stay-at-home-mom - I still help out with medevacs, but that’s only “part-time” when they come up - I’ve been challenged to be more present and to say YES. It’s so easy to say no to all the “extra” things that don’t exactly fit with my schedule or plans…  No, I can’t, because. I don’t want my legacy to be NO. I want to be the mom that says YES. Yes to new things; to adventures; to pink hair; to a weekend away; to having people over for a meal, yes, even at bedtime. I want to my legacy to be one of presence, and intentionality, of welcoming, and dwelling. I want to be that yes-mom so that one day when my baby asks me something and I say “no,” she’ll know that it’s for a good reason, and not just because I’m a no-mom. And I want her to know that if she comes to me, I will stop and be present with her, because it — she — is important. I read a quote recently that went something like: “Listen to the little things now, and when they are older they will share the big things; because to them, it’s all been the big things.” What a challenge!

And while I firmly believe that it’s good to say NO to things that take your focus off of Jesus and your family… you know what else I believe? Good things can happen when you say YES. And good things have happened since I started saying “yes.” It has been so fun, and so good for my heart and our family. I’ve seen and felt the results of simply letting go of a lot, putting my family first, saying YES, feeding people, being present, and leaving the dishes (guys, this is HUGE for me). The dishes will still be there tomorrow; but the moments, the memories, and the people you missed out on while you were washing up won’t be. 
Lucy Mae is ALWAYS on the move.
📷: @erinkvdonck
So leave the dishes (I’m looking at you, Erin), say yes, and be intentionally present today.



Oct 30, 2018

it's been a while

Hi there, remember me? I used to blog in this space. I used to write about our everyday happenings, new recipes I was loving, big things I was feeling. And then I stopped.

I found that I couldn't really tell you everything I was feeling, or everything that was going on -- I could never really be one-hundred-percent honest. So what was the point of writing? And why did I feel like that?

Because I'm a missionary; and I can't ever share the hard things.

This is a good post by A Life Overseas that explains this feeling a little more in-depth.
Mibu airstrip survey, Jon Leedahl & Josh Verdonck
photo by Geoff Husa
There is a certain pressure that comes with being a missionary, that is unique to anything else. It is immediate, immense, and heavy. It is the pressure of having everything you do/buy/say/drink/go/post/wear being put under a microscope; the fear of being judged as frivolous, or wasteful, or somehow lacking, or even of losing support altogether. 
Josh and Lucy Mae in Madang
photo by @erinkvdonck
And so like a good missionary, I hid those things from you, because I was afraid. I explained my lack of blogging depth by telling you we were busy, that life was moving quickly, and that there was a lot going on. All of those things were true, I've never lied to you here - they just weren't the whole picture.

I didn't tell you the hard things; that there were personnel issues going on that were seriously stressing us out. I didn't tell you that we lost a friend, unexpectedly and traumatically. I didn't tell you how hard it was to be in America, uncomfortable and out of place. I didn't tell you about the deep struggle with the baby blues and anxiety. I didn't tell you that you needed more than we could give. I didn't tell you because I didn't want to sound ungrateful or unfeeling, but mostly, because I was afraid that you would judge me and find me lacking.
Helicopter ride
photo by @floraladie
Likewise, I didn't tell you the good things either. Like that we won three different professional photo shoots. I didn't tell you that we ate take out a lot, especially after Lucy Mae came along, and it was so good. I didn't tell you that I went to Target several times a week, just to look at pretty things, drink Starbucks, wearing my baby with my mom bun and leggings, and pretend that I was a normal American mom. I didn't tell you, because I was afraid that you would judge me and find me frivolous or wasteful.

I hope you can understand, and I hope that you can forgive me for hiding my heart from you. And I hope that you stick around to keep reading, because I'm ready to come back and share about our lives again. I want my daughter to grow up to be brave, and I can only teach her that by being brave myself. So I'm ready to share; the big and the small; the good and the bad.
Rainbow Springs State Park
photo by Tara McGovern

Jan 6, 2018

furlough

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’ve managed to get out a grand total of TWO blog posts during our home assignment, and it was May before that, so let me try and get some of these thoughts out.

This is our very first home assignment, a sixth month leave from Papua New Guinea to have our daughter Lucy Mae; it’s also for learning how to be a family of three, raising some more support, and to hopefully get some rest before jumping back into ministry.
A Christmas-y walk through Disney Springs.
It has been amazing to grow into a family of three… our “mom and dad shoes” so to speak. At first, it was terrifying and overwhelming. This little person invaded every aspect of our lives. Honestly, there was a certain amount of mourning our 7-year-long-pre-baby-life… But then, fueled by the grace of God and cups of coffee, we started growing. The nights weren’t quite so long and anxiety-inducing; we didn’t cry quite as often; and we found that with some intentional “normal” we can still just be us. Suddenly, she became a part of us, and not an intruder. We’re so thankful for our little coconut!

We’ve reached the point in our furlough where we are homesick for PNG, for our ministries, for our friends, and our home. It’s been good being in America — there are people we love, not to mention fast internet, fast food, shopping, and anonymity — but now we feel ready to get back to the everyday life God called us to.

Can you pray for us? We have a few prayer requests weighing on us right now. 

Travel costs: we need about $4500 for tickets and baggage back to PNG.
Partners: our cost-of-living has increased with the birth of Lucy Mae; we’re looking for more partners.
Phones: we both need new phones, since ours each have one foot in the technological grave; it’s required to have working phones for our ministries.
Medical Bills: obviously, having a baby is costly.

We are continuing to make our travel arrangements in faith, knowing that the Lord provides what we need when we need it (and not a moment sooner), but it is heavy on us, and rather discouraging at times. BUT GOD. He is good and faithful. As our friend used to say: “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills; but He only feeds us one hamburger at a time."

Dec 19, 2017

she's here!

I am so proud to introduce you to our daughter - Lucy Mae.
Rose Day Photography
November 22, 2017
9:14pm
6 lbs, 1 oz
19.5 inches

Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes for this pregnancy and birth —we have been so blessed by them as we do our best to soak up every day with our sweet girl. She is doing remarkably well, and we love her more every day! Josh and I are both doing well, too, as we settle into a new normal that includes feedings every few hours, lots of diapers, and little sleep.
Rose Day Photography
Now we are busy raising some much-needed financial support, and planning to head back to Papua New Guinea in March. Our flights will take us through Belgium where we will get to see our extended family for the first time in 3 years — and Lucy Mae will get to meet lots more family! There are two new babies on that side on the world, too, so we’ll get to meet them as well! :)